Is California's Ammo Serialization Bill Practical?

In summary, a conversation was held discussing a proposed bill that would require all bullets to have a unique serial number engraved on them. The conversation highlighted concerns about the effectiveness of the bill in preventing crime, as well as logistical issues and potential costs. Some participants in the conversation also made jokes about the proposed tax on bullets. Overall, the conversation raised doubts about the practicality and potential impact of the bill.
  • #1
Pengwuino
Gold Member
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http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGBF2XRX08E.html

Ok now... do these assemblymen in my state even think about what they are talking about when they make these bills? What i got to ask is this:

1) How in gods name do they think they can stop any crime if this is a california only thing? Can't you just go over a nearby border and stock up on ammo?

2) Arent there problems in engraving a serial number on every single bullet made that come from when the bullet is fired (expansion)

3) Using all we know about history and human logic, would this bill do absolutely anything?

4) What if you steal someones ammo? Wouldn't that person then have a few hundred bullets saying "I committed this crime" on them? (methaphorically of course... but of course all the evidence has to point to him too for it to get by a jury hopefully)

I don't really like making a new jerk reaction... but i really really need someone to logically defend a bill like this for me...
 
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  • #2
Pengwuino said:
4) What if you steal someones ammo? Wouldn't that person then have a few hundred bullets saying "I committed this crime" on them? (methaphorically of course... but of course all the evidence has to point to him too for it to get by a jury hopefully)

That's my biggest problem with it (along with wondering who's going to pay for the administration and upkeep of such a database). Either outright steal the ammo, buy it using a fake ID (or stolen credit card and D.L.), buy it from another state (I doubt criminals are worried about regulations about crossing state lines with firearms), make your own, or stockpile ammo without serial numbers before the rules go into effect and make a fortune selling it on the black market after the rules go into effect. It comes across to me as one of those "feel good" laws that doesn't actually do anything other than create the illusion that lawmakers are doing something to distract people from the real problems.
 
  • #3
They say a half cent tax per bullet and $50 a year per vendor. And considering bullets are purchased at millions of bulelts per month i bet, they can probably afford it. Everything else is assanine though it seems, am i wrong?
 
  • #4
Pengwuino said:
They say a half cent tax per bullet and $50 a year per vendor. And considering bullets are purchased at millions of bulelts per month i bet, they can probably afford it. Everything else is assanine though it seems, am i wrong?

How many of those bullets are bought with taxpayer money for law enforcement? Are they going to have to lay off cops to afford the increased cost of the bullets? You know the manufacturers are going to need to charge more to make up their costs for adapting the manufacturing process to stamp every bullet with a unique serial number.

I have yet to hear any good arguments in favor of this plan. You don't need to stamp every bullet with an ID number to track who is buying ammo if that's the goal, and all that would do is track the law-abiding citizens buying ammo. It's not going to improve gun safety (when a law-abiding citizen has a gun accident, you don't need ballistics evidence to find out whose gun fired the shot, they're right there crying about it), and it's not going to do anything to track those who intend to use their guns for crimes because they won't purchase the bullets legally. Matching a serial number to a purchaser doesn't mean that's the person who fired the shot.
 
  • #5
And would this mean that you'd have to be filling out forms every single time you want to purchase ammo? Pff, id use the bullet on myself after a while if i had to go through that crap. And I've seen some ammo production lines on Modern Marvels and my god, its practically a blur on the little conveyer systems. How would you imprint a unique laser'ed in number ot each of those bullets? Wouldnt the laser have to be incredibly accurate and incredibly fast?

And what about the problems with putting the number in? I think the... ugh, the equivalency to the percussion cap area haha, that part, is the only place you can put a serial number right? Because wouldn't the number just be destroyed if it were put on the actual bullet when it expands and wouldn't it be destroyed during expansion if it were put on the sides of the casing?
 
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  • #6
Pengwuino said:
They say a half cent tax per bullet


This sounds ridiculous. You Yanks need to get them to put a $500 tax on each bullet, that would start to sort things out.
 
  • #7
... that's a joke right?
 
  • #8
Pengwuino said:
... that's a joke right?


No. Deadly serious.
 
  • #9
haha deadly serious, good one, so i guess that was a joke

Either that or you brits are really welcome to having no freedom...
 
  • #10
Pengwuino said:
haha deadly serious, good one, so i guess that was a joke

Either that or you brits are really welcome to having no freedom...


No, I really was being serious.

Everyone over here seems to live perfectly happily without bullets. I don't see where freedom fits into this.
 
  • #11
... you do realize that your violent crime statistics skyrocketed after you introduced heavy weapons limitations right?

And i can't even begin to comprehend how you think making bullet purchasing illegal (might as well be if its $500 per bullet) isn't a freedom issue. Might as put a $2000 per gallon tax on cars. People can walk right?

Christ its 4:30 am... and i got to get up at 5:30 haha, ill get back to this topic later.
 
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  • #12
Pengwuino said:
i can't even begin to comprehend how you think making bullet purchasing illegal (might as well be if its $500 per bullet) isn't a freedom issue. Might as put a $2000 per gallon tax on cars. People can walk right?


I didn't say anything about making the sale of bullets illegal. I mentioned taxing it. You must be aware that road fuel is already heavily taxed (around 350% here). This tax serves well to make people think twice before using their car unnecessarily. It works. I have absolutely no idea how much bullets cost, but if the argument is that they are used for self defence, then I would consider a $500 (or even £500) surcharge per bullet to be a pretty reasonable fee to have the means with which to protect my life.
 
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  • #13
Hey guys, we have a politics forum for this, you know...
 
  • #14
jtbell said:
Hey guys, we have a politics forum for this, you know...


He started it... :-p :smile:
 
  • #15
I could report my ammo missing/lost or stollen, kill someone a year later and probably get off.
 
  • #16
Pengwuino said:
And would this mean that you'd have to be filling out forms every single time you want to purchase ammo? Pff, id use the bullet on myself after a while if i had to go through that crap. And I've seen some ammo production lines on Modern Marvels and my god, its practically a blur on the little conveyer systems. How would you imprint a unique laser'ed in number ot each of those bullets? Wouldnt the laser have to be incredibly accurate and incredibly fast?

And would you need to report every time you used a bullet so they could cross that number off the list?

And what about the problems with putting the number in? I think the... ugh, the equivalency to the percussion cap area haha, that part, is the only place you can put a serial number right? Because wouldn't the number just be destroyed if it were put on the actual bullet when it expands and wouldn't it be destroyed during expansion if it were put on the sides of the casing?

That's something I'm really confused about. The part of the bullet that hits the target and is left behind as evidence would be pretty badly deformed, wouldn't it? How could you be sure you were reading the number right, if it could be read at all? If it's on the casing, then it's easy enough for the criminal to just collect the casings and take them with him, not leaving any evidence of the number on the scene. Toss the casings down the sewer or in a river, and they are never going to be traced.

And, what happens when there's a mix-up and the wrong bullets wind up in the wrong box and someone commits a crime with a bullet that should have been in your box and you get the blame for it? You wouldn't be able to confirm your serial numbers match the box label; presumably the numbers would be on the inside, otherwise all a criminal would have to do is scratch off the serial number the way they do on the guns themselves.

Maybe this is a ploy by the manufacturers of ammo to boost short term sales by convincing people to run out and stock up before the rules go into effect.

If I can think of so many ways to evade the rules on this one, I'm sure a criminal mind can come up with even more.

Bottom line, if we can't even manage to track the guns getting into criminal hands, how on Earth do they expect to track the many-fold greater number of bullets?
 
  • #17
mapper said:
I could report my ammo missing/lost or stollen, kill someone a year later and probably get off.

It would take quite a lot of forward planning though, unless you just do it as a matter of course, just in case you have to kill someone in the future.
 
  • #18
brewnog said:
I didn't say anything about making the sale of bullets illegal. I mentioned taxing it. You must be aware that road fuel is already heavily taxed (around 350% here). This tax serves well to make people think twice before using their car unnecessarily. It works. I have absolutely no idea how much bullets cost, but if the argument is that they are used for self defence, then I would consider a $500 (or even £500) surcharge per bullet to be a pretty reasonable fee to have the means with which to protect my life.

Bullets cost at the absolute very most, $3 each, and a huge majority costs $.02-$.03 each. And no, your using the wrong logic. You can't compare gas to these bullets unless you start using comparable taxing figures. For gas, it would be about a 1,000,000% tax applied (thus, i dunno, $500,000 a gallon?) so your $5 a gallon cost is a horrible comparison. And i know you didnt say illegal but if your thinking $500 a bullet, it might as well be illegal since shooters will fire off a good 100 bullets at practice ranges at the minimum. So yah, put gas at $500,000 a gallon and then tell me "It works". And to add to that, let's pretend global warming and the emissions of cars were non-existant. Then could you tell me therse any logical reason to put a tax on gas other then to fill the pocket books of the government? Because if you do change your mind about that, then your arguemnt against bullets is completely backwards seeing as how bullets don't pollute the environment and the only people using bullets from crime will ignore hte law and make their own bullets (a LOT of people make their own bullets, nice hobby).
 
  • #19
brewnog said:
It would take quite a lot of forward planning though, unless you just do it as a matter of course, just in case you have to kill someone in the future.

No you wouldn't, you could do it a week later. If your the person investigating the murder, you would actually assume the guys telling the truth because think of it this way... if your a murderer and you want a bullet, you would steal one and probably use it very soon afterwards. The investigator would know this and think "oh it makes sense that the bullet was stolen a week before, the criminal wanted to kill someone soon".
 
  • #20
brewnog said:
Everyone over here seems to live perfectly happily without bullets.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/3750568.stm

--
Knife crime in the west of Scotland should be treated as a public health issue like heart disease or cancer, according to a leading doctor...

Last year Strathclyde Police found nearly 3,000 blades being carried illegally in a public place.

Rudy Crawford, an A&E consultant at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, said: "People carry all sorts of weapons, some of them quite horrific, ranging from small pocket knives that they think can't inflict a fatal injury, which is entirely wrong, up to machetes, bayonets, swords.
--
 

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  • #21
lol a sword?

I can just see it now... so meone cuts in front of you and you whip out a huge 3 foot long sword
 
  • #22
And i highly doubt this is the gun industry tryen to 'boost sales' real quick. This is classic California legislature at its finest, no doubt.
 
  • #23
How to incubate an ammo black market

brewnog said:
I have absolutely no idea how much bullets cost, but if the argument is that they are used for self defence, then I would consider a $500 (or even £500) surcharge per bullet to be a pretty reasonable fee to have the means with which to protect my life.
Generally, CCW courses require their students to fire hundreds of rounds at firing ranges.
http://www.marksmanpistol.com/Pages/Marksman%20-%20Courses.html

--
Materials Needed - Handgun with a minimum of 650 rounds of ammunition
--


650 rounds would be $325,000 just for the tax. People with CCW licences tend to put in extra practice. 1000 rounds per year of target practice would cost $500,000 in tax. Carrying 22 rounds with your handgun (8 in the gun + 2 fully-loaded 7-round spare magazines) would mean you would be carrying at least $11,000 in merchandise on your person. Considering that the black market value of your rounds would be one or perhaps even many hundreds of dollars each, simply carrying a concealed weapon would make you a high-risk crime target if your weapon "printed" at all.
 
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  • #24
Actually the UK has a slightly hogher violent crime rate than the US, but it's murder rate is very, very low to compared to the US for one simple reason - tight gun control.

If USians prefer to have guns that is enitelry there business (to be honest I think gun owenershp and gun culture is far too widespread in the US currnetly that tightre gun control can solve much), but I think there is a lot of disninformation about guns in the US - they do cause social problems , not least of which is an inflated murder rate.
 
  • #25
This bill could be helpful for law enforcement agencies. The current technology allows police to identify the gun that fired a bullet. There are difficulties to this. Barrell rifling can be scratched to alter the rotation of the bullet that gives it the characteristics used for ballistics matching. A barrell can also be easily replaced. Bullets that are greatly deformed, as from striking a bone or other hard object, are often unreadable.

I think this alphanumerical designation (to reduce space) that Pengwuino mentioned will be placed on the casing. It will help police solve crimes. In a typical crime the police have a bullet and no gun to match it to. They may have no suspects. If they have a casing that has a designation on it, then they have a place to begin looking for the weapon that fired that bullet. It is unlikely that a criminal will want to spend the time to collect any casings after firing a weapon.

There is already a system in use that is very similar, but much less efficient. There are tests that can be done on thechemical composition of the lead in a bullet to determine where it was made and sold. It is not accurate enough to convict a person in a criminal case imo.

Here is a site with a few details about the criminal conviction of a man named Michael Behn. It states that the lead composition was important to his conviction. http://www.usnews.com/usnews/culture/articles/031124/24forensic.htm
If there was a designation on the casing he might not be in prison.

Any time someone steals your ammunition you should contact the police anyway. It indicates a likelihood that the thief will commit a violent crime. If customers must pay another half cent to cover the cost of each bullet being labelled then that seems justified if the labelling helps solve violent crimes.

Will this law reduce violent crimes? Probably not. It may help somewhat to solve these cases. I just hope its not yet another step into taking away the rights of U.S. citizens by demonizing firearms.
 
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  • #26
jcsd said:
Actually the UK has a slightly hogher violent crime rate than the US, but it's murder rate is very, very low to compared to the US for one simple reason - tight gun control.

Actually look at your own crime statistics. You had very low crime rates before that ban was put in place in... 93 or something. Then within a few years, your murder rates had doubled.

See: http://tim.2wgroup.com/blog/archives/000384.html i believe

@Huckleberry

But a criminal could just sand off the serial number. I mean it would be so easy to do since it would require a very small amount of work since the serial number would have to be VERY small because even alpha-numerical would need quite a few spaces (about 12 to be safe with like, what, 8 million bullets produced per day). Plus thsi would all have to be on the rim (where the hammer hits the bullet) because teh side of the case would be subject to the high pressures and would destroy the serial. Thats going to be small as heck printing and easily destroyed.
 
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  • #27
Forensic ballistics tagging

Huckleberry said:
It is unlikely that a criminal will want to spend the time to collect any casings after firing a weapon.
I was thinking the same thing, but revolvers retain casings (as long as they aren't reloaded mid-gun-battle). I would think the code would be etched into both the bullet and the casing, and repeatedly so as to make it more likely for ballistics technicians to be able to read deformed bullets.



There is already a system in use that is very similar, but much less efficient. There are tests that can be done on thechemical composition of the lead in a bullet to determine where it was made and sold.
At the http://ne.oregonstate.edu/facilities/radiation_center/intro.html on one or more bullets. I don't know what facts about the bullets the police were trying to determine, though.
 
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  • #28
Of course, if you take the pragmatic actual-humans-killed stance, deaths from homicide are basically negligible, just like terrorism.
 
  • #29
lol well that's a boring stance bicycle, what are legislatures to do with all their time if there not out there fixing problems with no real effect on peoples lives.
 
  • #30
Legislatures are out to fix problems that people think about. Whether the problems are actually important relative to other problems is only incidental. Hence, gun control & war on terror.
 
  • #31
well, terrorism would become a huge problem if a nuclear bomb went off in downtown NY or LA. I don't suppose there's going ot be any day that we would ever remember where gun-enthusiasts or criminals killed 3 million people or osmething so its not a good comparison lol.
 
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  • #32
BicycleTree said:
Of course, if you take the pragmatic actual-humans-killed stance, deaths from homicide are basically negligible, just like terrorism.
Firearms are a leading cause of death in the Unites States, close behind auto accidents.
http://www-medlib.med.utah.edu/WebPath/TUTORIAL/GUNS/GUNSTAT.html

And firearms non-fatal injury rates are about seven times as high as the fatality rates and highly traumatic.

--
The number of non-fatal injuries is considerable--over 200,000 per year in the U.S. Many of these injuries require hospitalization and trauma care. A 1994 study revealed the cost per injury requiring admission to a trauma center was over $14,000. The cumulative lifetime cost in 1985 for gunshot wounds was estimated to be $911 million, with $13.4 billion in lost productivity. (Mock et al, 1994) The cost of the improper use of firearms in Canada was estimated at $6.6 billion per year. (Chapdelaine and Maurice, 1996)
--
 
  • #33
BicycleTree said:
Of course, if you take the pragmatic actual-humans-killed stance, deaths from homicide are basically negligible, just like terrorism.
That may be true, but I still wouldn't feel any safer walking through the Detroit projects at night. Heart disease may kill more people than homocide but it doesn't lurk in dark corners waiting to shoot you. I'd rather lose a game of chess to a computer than to a human opponent.
 
  • #34
From hitssquad's link:

Of 626 shootings in or around a residence in three U.S. cities revealed that, for every time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides (Kellermann et al, 1998). Over 50% of all households in the U.S. admit to having firearms (Nelson et al, 1987). It would appear that, rather than beign used for defense, most of these weapons inflict injuries on the owners and their families.

That is a fairly alarming statistic... 4 unintentionals, 7 criminal assaults, and 11 suicide attempts... for every legitimate usage of self-defense, 22 atrocities elsewhere result.

Scary.
 
  • #35
motai said:
From hitssquad's link:



That is a fairly alarming statistic... 4 unintentionals, 7 criminal assaults, and 11 suicide attempts... for every legitimate usage of self-defense, 22 atrocities elsewhere result.

Scary.
And gun control laws won't help much for the criminal assaults or suicide attempts. They may reduce the unintentional gun deaths. That is more a matter of hunting regulations and home safety, such as required trigger locks and gun safety classes. Unfortunately, the law can't stop people from doing stupid stuff with dangerous things.
 

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